All rankings and scores based on .5 PPR scoring
Rankings pending Monday Night Football results
Jayden Reed: You’re likely going to see Jayden Reed listed in a lot of waiver wire articles this week which is well-deserved on his part. The second-round rookie out of Michigan State is starting to get his footing in the NFL as he has posted double-digit fantasy points in three out of his last four games. It appears Matt LaFluer is making an effort to get Reed more involved through the air and on the ground as he had three rushes this week and a rushing touchdown. Jordan Love has also been playing better lately leading to weekly WR1 finishes the last two weeks for Reed. Reed is the type of receiver that is set to flourish in the Shanahan system. He’s a shifty receiver who has great YAC skills who was handpicked by LaFluer. His 1.93 yards per route run is also far better than teammates Romeo Doubs (1.37) and Christian Watson (1.28). The Packers target share is fairly well spread out but it seems like Reed has earned his 5-6 targets minimum moving forward and with games left against the Lions, Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, and Vikings, Reed is primed to be a playoff contributor.
Jaylen Warren: It’s about freaking time. Najee “Quicksand” Harris is finally losing significant playing time to the more talented back. In his limited playing time behind Najee, he always seemed to pop off the screen with explosive plays. Well over the last month he has seen a minimum of 10 touches a game with three in a row hitting double-digit fantasy points. He was the RB7 last week and, barring Monday Night Football results, is the RB2 this week. Despite his lack of playing time he is still the RB22 for the season. Warren also has back-to-back hundred-yard rushing games. When this guy is on the field good things happen for the Steelers. A big plus for Warren is the Steelers play good defense and rarely find themselves getting completely blown out so they don’t often have to abandon the run. Even if they do find themselves getting blown out, Warren is the pass catcher over Harris so he would likely benefit. Look for Warren’s role to keep growing.
Trey McBride: McBride had a very quiet rookie season after being a second-round pick out of Colorado State. The big, athletic tight end has all the tools to succeed and they are starting to get utilized. He also had a slow start to his sophomore campaign but things are on the way up. Since week seven he has seen at least five targets in every game and has seen a rise in his snap share as well. Kyler Murray has always looked for his tight ends and in two games with McBride the duo has connected 13 times. He has nice upside too with games of 20.5 and 17.1. I think he has real staying power as it was encouraging that he started producing with Josh Dobbs before playing with Kyler. Travis Kelce isn’t having the monster year we’re used to, Mark Andrews just went down for the year, and Darren Waller hardly did anything before his season-ending injury so the tight end position is in flux right now. I’d be shocked if McBride is available anymore since the position is so scarce but he’s a no-doubter pickup this week if so.
DeAndre Hopkins: I wasn’t super high on Hopkins this season in general as I didn’t see the value in drafting a wide receiver in a low-volume passing offense in the fifth round. Especially one who was going to play with a bad quarterback no matter how you sliced it. His week eight game against the Falcons (32.8 fantasy points) has massively inflated his current ranking of WR21 so don’t be fooled there. He has only caught more than four passes twice this season, posted more than 65 yards twice, and has only found the end zone in two separate games. Will Levis has looked flat-out bad the last few weeks and the Titans are entering the back half of the season completely out of the mix after having playoff aspirations. Hopkins clearly isn’t in his prime anymore and he doesn’t have Kyler throwing him the ball. Life comes at you fast.
Chris Godwin: This is another case of a guy who hasn’t been bad by any means this season at all. Godwin was a sixth-round pick and the WR27 in drafts this preseason and as the WR39 currently, he isn't providing a great return. He’s been super reliable for the Buccaneers and Baker Mayfield this year but he’s been a better real-life receiver than fantasy receiver. With six games of five or six catches and five games with 51-66 yards he has been totally average. I thought he would be more involved in this offense as a safety valve in the slot for Baker but I misread that situation as Baker is just a true gunslinger. I wasn’t totally wrong though as he’s essentially a lock for six plus targets a game it’s just he’s only seen a yards per target higher than 10 yards twice this season. He has three games in a row with 7.4 fantasy points or less. Mike Evans is the upside play in this offense and Godwin remains a fine flex play but he sure isn’t the WR 2-3 like we wanted.
Quentin Johnston: Am I picking on him as he’s been here once already and I have a personal narrative to push? Yes. Does he stink? Also yes. I mentioned the first time he made this list that it was bonkers to me that people were investing a 10th-round pick on a guy who didn’t have a clear path to meaningful playing time. Regardless of what you thought about him as a prospect it just made no sense for redraft leagues. After Mike Williams, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton, AND Gerald Everett all have been forced to miss time, it was finally QJ’s time and he’s done nothing. He’s racked up 139 yards in five games since he started seeing regular playing time. He’s supposed to be this possession guy but he constantly gets abused at the point of attack in the air by defenders. He just dropped what should've been the game-winning touchdown pass against the Packers. Even if he doesn’t make the cleanest catch he’s getting the team into field goal range for the game-tying field goal and it’s honestly an inexcusable play for a first-round pick. I thought this guy was a bust all along so I’m obviously saying it again but even without the bias I have an extremely hard time seeing this guy ever breaking the label.